Report: rural NYers age 50+ struggle with medical, housing access

Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 3:29 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - A new report finds that New Yorkers who are over the age of 50 and live in a more rural area have more challenges when it comes to housing and getting to a doctor when compared to their peers who live in a city.

Details can be found in “Disrupt Disparities,” a report done by the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP. It compares life for older New Yorkers who live in rural areas, versus those who live in a more urban setting.

“Fifty-plus and older in rural New York were sicker and struggling even more so than others with access to services,” said Beth Finkel, New York state director, AARP.

One concern is that not everyone has a car, and that can make it tough to see a doctor in a rural area.

“Lack of access to transportation is devastating in how we live, how we socialize, get to work or get anywhere. It’s much more pronounced in rural areas,” said Greg Olsen, acting director, New York State Office for the Aging.

The AARP report not only found differences in access to health care but also determined there are more challenges for rural areas when it comes to high-speed internet and housing.

The report says there was a loss of more than 15,000 housing units in ten years in rural areas.

The rise of inflation has also hurt, and there has been a drastic drop in the number of workers and volunteers in organizations that help the older population in rural areas. Some of that is chalked up to the pandemic.

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D. - NY) says getting together to confront the issues is a good first step.

“These aren’t easy problems to solve. This conference is a way to bring change-makers together, learn from one another, and create solutions,” she said.

AARP will continue to push for change in Albany when the 2023 legislative session begins in January.